Accepting My Opinion

Mid July.  It was the second last day of a seven-day rock climbing and mountaineering course in Jasper.  A couple of my classmates broached with me the idea of paying tips to our instructors.  I declined to participate.  Despite that I liked our instructors very much, learned a lot from them and appreciated their answering all the questions I had asked, I thought that they were reasonably well paid through the course fees charged. 

“Okay.  We’ll make sure that your name is not included.”  A classmate responded and walked away.

That night, lying in my tent, I felt uncomfortable with the whole situation.  It seemed that all my five classmates had agreed to contribute to the tip fund.  I felt an outsider. 

On my first flight from China to Canada on January 3, 1988, as a visa student with scholarships and teaching and research assistantships from the University of Toronto, I decided to settle in Canada, to find a same-sex partner (which was forbidden in China) and live among the Canadians and become one of them.

At that time Canadians meant white people to me.  In subsequent years, I gradually became used to the concept that Canadians included all sorts of people: white, Chinese, black, brown, Indian, etc.  However, I also realized acutely that Canada was basically run by white people and its culture was dominantly white ones.

As I lay in my tent, I realized that deep inside, there was a part of me that had always wanted to be part of the white people who had reprented Canada, positive images in news, heros and heroines in movies, beauty and attraction in fashion, moral high grounds in society.

The reason I felt uncomfortable was because I was disturbed deep inside that I was not part of my class group: all my five classmates were white.  All instructors were also white.  A battle was going on deep inside me.  One side fought to be accepted by the white group.  The other fought to accept myself.

Eventually the principle of unconditional acceptance of myself won.  I accepted my opinion that it made sense to me that I did not need to pay tips to my instructors.  I fell into the best sleep I had in my entire stay at the camp.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 8th, 2010 at 12:02 pm and is filed under Canadian, Chinese, Just Being Me, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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